NSPRI Boss Identifies Constraints To Post-Harvest Loss Reduction

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Inadequate manpower, low funding and irregular power supply are major constraints to post-harvest loss reduction, the Executive Director, Nigerian Stored Produce Research Institute (NSPRI), Dr Joseph Williams, has said.
Williams, in an interview with newsmen in Abuja recently, noted that Nigeria recorded more than 60 per cent post-harvest losses in fruits and vegetables, among others.
He expressed regret that as the country produced abundant food that could feed the entire West African nations, many Nigerians still found it difficult to feed well.
‘’When we cultivate crops for at least nine months and after harvest, it is lost within one month, the losses become total.
‘’Time, money and land all go to waste annually due to the lack of encouragement to process our agricultural produce.
‘’When investment in food processing is low, there will be huge wastage. Crop losses will reduce, if investment in crop processing is high. Tomato processing companies are few, hence, high losses annually.
“Onions from Aliero in Kebbi wastes annually because there is little or no value addition investment. Nigeria is the largest producer of yam but other countries buy from us for export to Europe.
“The poundo yam in Britain is claimed to be from Ghana, and Nigeria is here watching millions of yam rot away.’’
Williams also noted that Nigeria is the world’s sixth largest producer of cashew nuts and that India would buy the nuts so that it could maintain its position as the highest producer of the nuts.
He said that in order to reduce these losses, NSPRI, in collaboration with other research institutes and international organisations, had developed storage and packaging facilities to increase the life-span of farm produce.
Williams explained that the institute was collaborating with the Lake Chad Research Institute to develop technology for wheat seed preservation to be distributed to wheat farmers.
He further said that there was also collaboration between the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research and Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research for the development of technologies for value addition in aquaculture products.
According to him, NSPRI has partnership with the Kano Agricultural Development Agency, producer of sorghum seeds, in the area of sorghum seed preservation, using nitrogen purged silos.